My Artistic Process
Updated: Sep 20
Hey there! I'm André Rios, originally from Portugal, but now I call the Netherlands home. I've always had a passion for art since I can remember and took several art and design courses to fuel my passion.
Living and working in the Netherlands is like a dream come true. The place is all about forward thinking and embracing the arts, which has been a huge boost to my creativity.
My passion is fueled by an ongoing commitment to enhance my technical skills. Both drawing and painting are incredibly engaging activities for me. In my original artwork, I often explore themes related to technology, the perception of reality, and philosophical concepts. Listening to audio-books, podcasts, and music enables me to connect with ideas and emotions that I then channel into my art.
By revealing the "how" and "why" behind my art, I aim to inspire you to embark on your creative journeys.It's my hope that by sharing my creative journey, I can inspire you to explore your own passion for art and self-expression.
From Idea to Concept:
I don't always begin a piece with a predefined concept. At times, I find it helpful to note down initial ideas on paper, but I mainly use Photoshop for this purpose. Having sketches or digital drafts in front of me allows me to facilitate a dialogue between my imagination and the canvas, initiating a creative exchange between my thoughts and the visual representation.
In my creative process, I frequently employ photographs as foundational materials for my artwork. These images serve as a canvas onto which I layer, cut, blend, and distort various elements to convey the specific concept I aim to express. I have a particular fondness for incorporating Trompe-l'œil elements in my pieces, as they help bridge the perceptual gap between 2D and 3D, serving as a reflection of the different layers of reality coexisting within the same physical space.
There are moments when I prefer to let my emotions guide the course of my artwork. Take, for instance, the creation of my piece titled "Logout." I felt a compelling urge to visually articulate my deep sense of disgust and anger towards the manipulative and insensitive realm of social media.
Without a preconceived image in my mind, I began contemplating how best to communicate this intense emotion and just how extreme I could make it.
I started to imagine the idea of digital suicide as the overall theme for this piece and suddenly it came to me this very clear vision of someone shooting himself on the head and splattering his brains into digital pieces. I went online and bought an air-soft gun to use as reference and took photo references dressed with a trash bag shooting the gun into my head. Next, I brought the most suitable reference photo into Photoshop, where I began the process of painting over it until I achieved the desired aesthetic that truly resonated with me.
Following the refinement of my reference image, I proceeded to translate it onto a 70x100cm pastelmat board, bringing it to life in pastel.
For my realistic pastel pieces I always use a projector to transfer the sketch to the pastelmat board. Since I love to have a white background I’m always aiming to have the cleanest artwork possible so I work vertically every time I can, I either place my artboard on an easel or I attach it to the wall. I keep an eye on the white background throughout the painting process and the cleanliness of my hands. It's almost like I'm performing surgery on the artwork or building an intricate machine!
In addition to incorporating Trompe-l'œil elements into my artwork, I make use of square brushes on photoshop to cut, add and distort my reference photos. To me, the square goes beyond just pixels; it symbolizes technology and the essence of modern civilization. Within my pieces, these squares serve as powerful tools for conveying various concepts, whether it's representing balance, velocity, proximity and an overall modern geometric aesthetic.
Overcoming Creative Blocks:
I always keep a notebook and every time I have an idea for a piece I take a note with as many details as I can. If you keep this habit when you find yourself in a creative block just go through your notebook and pick the one that you are most aligned with at the time. Look at art from artists that inspire you, visit museums and galleries, read/listen to a new book, keep yourself connected with whatever inspires you and allow yourself to be receptive to new ideas.
The Role of Revision:
In my recent pastel artworks, I generally stick closely to the original reference, but there are times when I choose to make alterations. Upon completing my most recent piece, "Logout," I couldn't shake the feeling that something was amiss. This sense of incompleteness lingered for several months until the missing element finally dawned on me – social media emoticons.
It occurred to me that sometimes we restrain our creative impulses, thinking certain additions may not align with our style or fit the piece. However, I decided to take the leap and incorporate the emoticons into the design. This decision not only filled the void I had sensed but also added depth to the artwork's message. It served as a reminder that pushing artistic boundaries can lead to elevating both the piece and its intended message.
Completion and Reflection:
I consider a piece complete when I've reached a point where I can't discern any further improvements to be made. I have a precise vision of where I want my artworks to fall on the spectrum of realism, and I meticulously fine-tune and embellish them to achieve that level of detail and precision.
In certain cases, especially when working on portraits, I find it beneficial to mirror the image of my piece. This technique serves as a valuable tool for detecting any facial distortions or potential issues that might have gone unnoticed, offering an additional layer of scrutiny to ensure the artwork meets my exacting standards.
I often contemplate my pieces when they are done and hanging in my studio. I often realize unintended new details and connections that were made without conscious intention. I believe that if you are sincere with the art you create, these connections happen more often. To me my artworks are both a journal of my mind and a book with new pages for me to read.
I believe an artist's approach to their craft mirrors their approach to life itself. While your art may be deeply personal and understood by you alone, a sincere dedication to your artistic journey holds no regrets. Strive for originality while allowing inspiration from others to guide you. Continually seek your distinct mode of self-expression within the expansive realm of art.